In terms of the fiscal consolidation issue, CNN reported:
National debt: 'Time for gridlock is over' - Mar. 8, 2011As lawmakers continued to butt heads over how much spending should be cut over the next seven months, a few senators on Tuesday were trying to keep the focus where they think it belongs -- the next several decades...
The group's starting point is the plan presented last December by President Obama's debt commission, which was led by former Republican Sen. Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles, who served as White House chief of staff under President Clinton.
For purposes of reference, the report of the Fiscal Commission co-chaired by Erskine Bowles and Alan Simpson can be found at: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv...T2010120100209
IMO, it is efforts such as the one described in the CNN article that are essential if the U.S. is to move back onto a fiscally sustainable course. Recommendations from the Fiscal Commission's report should have been incorporated in the President's recent budget proposal. Instead, what is essentially a status quo budget was offered.
Moreover, rather than the currently white hot battle currently raging in Congress over possible reductions to domestic discretionary spending--an increasingly small part of the federal budget, especially when large exemptions are made--the real policy focus should be on the structural elements behind the nation's fiscal imbalances.